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DuckDuckGo on CNBC: We’ve grown 600% since NSA surveillance news broke (technical.ly)
636 points by wnm on June 17, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 245 comments



Yes, the search results aren't that good, but they're good enough. A single search almost always gets what I'm looking for on the front page or the entries immediately visible, which is impressive considering how little DDG knows about me.

Add in the !bang feature for searching most websites (classics like !w - Wikipedia, !g - Google, and stuff like !gh - GitHub, !aur - Arch User Repository) and my favorite "define X" keyword that links straight to Wordnik, and my search experience is better than Google.

The !bangs also function as bookmarks, so if I ever want to go to GitHub, I can just search !gh and it'll take me there. It's like having a set of search engines stored universally, accessible from any device with web access.

And of course if I need Google, say for word etymologies, it's just a !g away.


> Yes, the search results aren't that good, but they're good enough

It took me a while of using DDG and looking at results side-by-side before I could reliably distinguish between "results aren't as good" and "results don't feel like Google results".

For example, I kept track for a little while of how many times I had to use !g. I changed my DDG theme for a while to use colors similar to Google, and found myself using !g less often. That has disturbing implications for just how conditioned I was towards Google search results. (These days I use the default DDG theme.)

Apart from that, I reported various minor cases where DDG's rankings needed fixing (many of which got fixed, with actual email from a human about the issue).

These days, though, I almost never use !g. In the rare cases where I get annoyed with a set of search results not showing me anything useful, I tend to find that Google's results aren't any better.

One area I do wish DDG would fix: showing calculations directly without having to use !wa. For instance, just today I searched for "2^64 picoseconds in years" on DDG, and that didn't instantly give me the answer; I had to repeat the search with !wa. Google gives the answer at the top of the search results.


The full (searchable) list of bang-options: https://duckduckgo.com/bang


Why does StackOverflow have 3 bangs (ov, sof, stackoverflow)?


If you're looking for etymologies, !etym is a much better choice.


Just playing around with some of these bangs and I notice that !eo provides even richer results. On investigation, !etym seems to be performing an '=' comparison while !eo is a 'LIKE'.


I like how the results aren't personalized.

This is a big problem when I'm doing some research. I don't want links from sites I frequent. I want links that actually match my query.

It's not my primary search engine, but I do find myself turning to DDG from time to time


You hit the nail on the head. The 'bubble' factor is responsible for the different search results. They're not customized, so folks see them as worse. That's the feature I prize, and the reason I use DDG exclusively.


I've gotten into the habit of using DDG as a default as well. I typically only search for keywords or similes that should be on the pages though, which almost any good index should be able to handle.

Google still seems to be lightyears ahead of everybody else as far as understanding actual content meaning and intent though. It's fun to try to give google a query it can't return results instantly for.


s/simile/synonym/


I use duckduckgo on my desktop and laptop by default, but the bang syntax is a pain on mobile so I set it to google there.

So far I'm pretty happy with DDG results.


I used to do the same thing on mobile, but a friend's project[1] adds some nice fat buttons at the top of DDG results for common !bang commands.

[1]: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/duckduckbang/


I have a "!tpb" search on my bookmarks for that moments when TPB changes domain.


!kat kickass torrentz. even when the url changes.


I'm kinda confused about the bang syntax. Chrome offers something similar to that, that I use similarly. Their search engine shortcuts allow me to do very similar stuff. I alias wikipedia to wp and simple hit command/control+l then type wp and it searches wikipedia. Does DDG just route you to the site?


The bangs work any place in the string. They don't have to be a prefix.

In Firefox you have a dedicated search bar (ctrl-k) which remembers your search across locations. So you search for "heisenbug oracle ipv6" press enter and are not immediately happy about the precision of your search.

So you press ctrl-k again and append "!so". Bang, your previous search is now applied to stack overflow and you have your answer straight at spot 1.

It's a very good flow. It will never work in retarded browsers who insist on removing the search bar though (like Chrome, Safari, IE).

In a deeply misguided act of Chromeism, Firefox was considering going in that direction too, but the outrage in the userbase hopefully caused them to never venture that line of thought again.


It works the same way in the safari bar. If you use it to search, the search bar maintains your search string, not the URL. So you can use ⌘L on the search page, and your URL bar will be focused with the plain text of what you just searched, and you can append !g as yon would expect.

And copying the search text in the URL bar actually copies the link too, which is nice.


>It will never work in retarded browsers who insist on removing the search bar though (like Chrome, Safari, IE).

Uh huh. Because they'll lose their ability to tell if something is a search or a URL because of bang parsing, right?


But the URL changes from a search string to the URL of the results. A dedicated search bar retains what you last searched for. For example mine has "league of legends !w" at the moment. If I wanted to search on Startpage for that I just hit ctrl-k and change !w to !sp.


I suppose it saves typing, but I don't really mind doing site:news.ycombinator.com on Google.


DDG has thousands of premade !bang shortcuts though. You don't have to spend any time creating unique search aliases for every one of your browsers. You (and anyone else) can directly search wikipedia with a quick !w from at DDG from any browser anywhere.


Chrome automatically creates these for me, though. Start typing imdb.com, once it starts autocompleting, hit tab, then type whatever I want to search. I only have to go search there once. I've been using firefox and DDG lately and I really miss this.

Down side to that feature is when you search a random blog once and then two years later it's suggesting you search there again.


Firefox supports something similar, if you for example visit IMDb you can add their search via the Firefox search box and then add a keyword of your choice to use the search in the address bar.

Both Firefox and Chrome use OpenSearch (http://www.opensearch.org/Home) to achieve this.


That sounds a lot like you're still creating each one yourself. Just because Chrome is suggesting that you might want to create a search shortcut, doesn't mean you're still making individual shortcuts by hand.

I can directly search Audible.com (a site I've never used before) with an intuitive !audible. Then I never have to think about this shortcut ever again, because it isn't saved in my browser somewhere.


If you delete the suggestion by hitting Shift-Delete while it's highlighted.


Thousands of premade !bangs that I would have to memorize, rather than create myself (which makes memorization much easier)

Although pointless, it's fun to use my keyword "ddg" to use their bang syntax to search another site. Even if I already have that site as its own keyword.

ie:

There is no difference between me searching "y this searches youtube" and "ddg !y this also searches youtube" or having to actually visit ddg to search Youtube. There's no reason for me to not just use a feature already built into my browser.


You can create them yourself in Firefox if you want. See http://johnbokma.com/firefox/keymarks-explained.html


Which is exactly what I explained I use (and why I would use them), but thank you. :)

>There's no reason for me to not just use a feature already built into my browser.


o.o it's intuitive imo. !g - google, !yf - yahoo finance, !cb - crunchbase, !news - google news, !yt - youtube. Sometimes I just try an abbreviation that makes sense and lo I'm correct.

Plus I make ddg my default browser so I do just go to the address bar put `!yt cats` and get youtube cat videos.


Sometimes it's about wanting a trivially shorter keyword.

!h searches Hoogle; I would prefer it to search Hacker News. To search Hacker News I have to use !hnsearch or !hn

!hn isn't much larger than !h but is still something I would prefer to set myself.

!m goes to Google Maps but I would prefer to use another map service. I could use !mapquest but would rather it just be !m

!sd goes to Slickdeals instead of Science Daily (which is !sciencedaily , talk about lengthy)

E:

I just compared my keywords and then searched the DDG Bang list for where I would be taken if I had used DDG instead of ones I set myself.

E:

>Plus I make ddg my default browser so I do just go to the address bar put `!yt cats` and get youtube cat videos.

I just type "y cats" and get youtube cat videos. ;)


>!h searches Hoogle; I would prefer it to search Hacker News. To search Hacker News I have to use !hnsearch or !hn

>!hn isn't much larger than !h but is still something I would prefer to set myself.

>!m goes to Google Maps but I would prefer to use another map service. I could use !mapquest but would rather it just be !m

>!sd goes to Slickdeals instead of Science Daily (which is !sciencedaily , talk about lengthy)

It sounds like this is a prime use case for text shortcuts such as those built into OS X or Textexpander etc…

Just create a shortcut to transform '!h' to '!hn' or '!sd' to '!sciencedaily'.


Or it's a prime reason to use keywords, a functionality built into modern browsers, such that I only need to type "sd" to search Science Daily.

http://www-archive.mozilla.org/docs/end-user/keywords.html


Thank you for singing the praises of bookmark keywords, which are apparently a long-lost and forgotten feature to many people. I love all of mine, and it sounds like you've created a great library of your own. Good thing neither of us have to agree on what keywords to use.


I blow some people's minds when I tell them about tab groups (ctrl+shift+e) in Firefox.

>Good thing neither of us have to agree on what keywords to use.

Precisely! :)


> I blow some people's minds when I tell them about tab groups (ctrl+shift+e) in Firefox.

What do they think that icon to the right of the tabs is? Just some bit of abstract art? :)


I have a heavily customized userChrome.css - none of Firefox's Chrome UI is exposed to me. The only UI I see are the few context menu options I left and tab groups (if you can consider that FF UI)

It's a lot like Pressing F11 without the issues that arise when using Full Screen browsing.


There's some good stuff in there. If you're searching for Perl documentation !mcpan will lead you directly to a MetaCPAN.org search page. "!mcpan Plack" is a good example.


It also helps that even if you don't know the shorthand that, say, !py3 does a search of the python3 documentation, almost always you can type out the full name to do the search, e.g. !python3.


Doesn't using DDG with Chrome negate the privacy benefits? Doesn't Chrome just report everything you do within the browser to Google anyway? I always just assume so while I'm using it.


If you are logged into Chrome and use `!g`, yes. You can even check it at https://history.google.com/history/

In the past that page would even discriminate searches made with DuckDuckGo. They recently redesigned the History page to fit their Material Design look.

I would hope that when I'm logged out, Chrome would not track me... And what about Chromium?


> I would hope that when I'm logged out, Chrome would not track me

There's several more settings under Advanced Settings -> Privacy: "Learn more" links to https://support.google.com/chrome/?p=settings_privacy

-Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors

-Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar or the app launcher search box

-Prefetch resources to load pages more quickly

-Automatically report details of possible security incidents to Google

-Enable phishing and malware protection

-Use a web service to help resolve spelling errors

-Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google

All of these send info back to Google and can be used for tracking even when logged out. Not to mention the usual tracking in any browser. And this is just what they are up-front about.


Currently, it seems only the first three plus phishing/malware protection are enabled by default. The phishing/malware protection is also used by Firefox's "Safe Browsing" feature: Firefox uses a local blocklist to check for potentially malicious sites, so you only connect to Google to update the blocklist and double-check when you actually run into a site on the blocklist; Chrome does the same.

See: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-does-phishing-and-m...

Prefetch makes local predictions and connects to any site, not Google in particular AFAIK.

The omnibar prediction service uses your default search engine, so Google is only involved if you've left it as such.

So if you take the obvious steps of changing your search engine and signing out of Google, that leaves only the navigation error service. As with safe browsing, this appears to send URLs to Google only if certain local conditions are met.


>Doesn't Chrome just report everything you do within the browser to Google anyway?

Yes.


Well, no, Chrome does not report "everything you do" to Google. For example, it wouldn't report what you're searching for on https://www.duckduckgo.com/


yeah, it's mostly the same thing except you still bounce on ddg's servers which sounds pretty silly but in practice it means that it'll work on any browser anywhere as long as you use duckduckgo unlike custom aliases.


I switched my default search to DDG and haven't thought twice about it.

It's maybe once every couple days that I have to use "!g" to get google results, for everything else DDG works excellently. Even the times when I have to use "!g", it's often a hint that I'm searching for an unpopular phrase, and find that if I rephrase my search results I get much better results out of both search engines.

I remember there was a story on HN once a few months back where a kind soul from DDG posted an email address that one could submit notes to wrt highlighting poor search results so that they could address them, I don't recall the email and haven't been able to find it. If this is still available with DDG could someone please re-post that email here? I would very much like to help improve the quality of DDG to make it better for everyone but I can't find anywhere to suggest improvements on their website.

Edit: I was able to find their Feedback page, but I much prefer email personally: https://duckduckgo.com/feedback


I switched my default search to DDG and haven't thought twice about it.

I have—it's about 80 – 90% accurate for me, which is pretty good but not always perfect. The search-within-site feature (i.e. "search string site:jakeseliger.com" is definitely not as good as Google, though I'm not sure why. Searching within Reddit or HN, for example, is not nearly as good.

That being said the !g button is great: if DDG doesn't work, the move to Google is fast and painless. I've definitely evangelized DDG some to friends.


The problem with 80-90% accurate results is that I'm never sure whether the results I'm seeing right now would have been better if I had opened Google for it - as a lot of times the answers are not in black and white to even claim they're "accurate". You are never sure without checking both results which one was more relevant. That uncertainty is stressful for me, so for now, sticking with Google.


That uncertainty is stressful for me, so for now, sticking with Google.

Google's answers are hardly black and white--part of being a developer, an engineer, or even just a high-functioning human being, is being able to synthesize an answer from several data sources of varying utility.


>The problem with 80-90% accurate results is that I'm never sure whether the results I'm seeing right now would have been better if I had opened Google for it

One could easily replace the word "Google" with "DuckDuckGo" and be facing the same quandary. In fact, having just realized that (I was in the same boat as you earlier today) I'm going to give DDG a shot and see how it holds up.


Sure, the same uncertainty could be applied to Google had it been a new player in the market and we hadn't developed a little 'trust' in its search results over all these years (not saying no else can beat them to it). I'm always looking out for new search engines, and may be one day DDG's search results will be better than Google's, just not at present for me.


wut? if you find what you're looking for then the results are fine. the google results seem to be deeper into forums but that comes from context. Google knows I'm a programmer so I get more tech related results on average.

Again, if ddg doesn't give me what I want I use !g to try google.


>> if you find what you're looking for then the results are fine

As a user I don't just want to find it, I want to find it easy. For example, the most (/more) relevant answer should be ranked 1st, not 12th on the second page. Also, a lot of times I'm trying to solve a difficult question - so the 'closer' it takes me to the real solution by combining more than one 'top' search results, the betters is the search engine quality. Also, I love how Google answers a lot of questions without visiting any website at all (on the top with its cards). I know it might be bad for the website whose information is probably being scraped, but it's better for me as a user.


I've been using ddg as my main search engine for close to a year I think. It's definitely not as good as google but it's good enough most of the time.

My main concern is that it's still a free service and I really don't see how it'll be sustainable in the long term without compromising privacy in their current model. If you're not the customer you're the product etc...

I'd gladly pay $10 a month for a "premium" search engine with strong privacy garantees. I'm definitely not going to enable ads in ddg and I can't imagine that the average duckduckgo user thinks differently.


Gabe, the CEO, addresses this directly in the interview. He said that the most lucrative advertising is for things like insurance, cars, etc and that most people just type that directly into the search bar. Advertisers just bid on those keywords and DDG gets paid. They make money from keyword search and advertising.


I think Google used to start with this model too.


Perhaps, but let's not judge DDG on future actions which they may not even take.


Google is beta testing a similar subscription model, but it's only meant to reduce ads so far. https://www.google.com/contributor/welcome/


That's a bit different since it's for a network of third-party web sites, and not Google's own search engine.


It's very different, for a lot of reasons, but the model for revenue is still closer to a subscription model than the normal ad revenue model.


I guess I'm not an average DDG user then :)

Also, at least on their settings page, they encourage donations or the purchase of their gear in order to deal with costs. Nevertheless, I can see how keeping up a free service could be a problem.


I suspect that a lot of people would rather pay directly for a search engine subscription than pay for it indirectly with their privacy. Why hasn't anyone stepped in to serve this market?!


Don't you think their current model can sustain more users? Or do you consider that to be a privacy issue?


I honestly don't know enough to judge the financial sustainability of the company. To me it's more about incentives.

Right now it seems they're still growing really fast. What if tomorrow it's not the case anymore? What if their userbase reaches a plateau? Will they really still be morally strong enough to commit to user privacy or will they slowly start to give in more and more in order to increase their revenue? Does "do no evil" ring a bell?

On the other hand if they get money from the users themselves then the incentives are different, they might try to get more money by offering new services and they probably won't risk doing that that'll piss off their paying users.

Maybe I'm too cynical but in my mind even if ddg's intentions are pure now eventually they'll get bought or something and someone, some day will want to cash in. And for a free service cashing in means selling the userbase to the highest bidder.

But maybe I'm a bit naive, I guess that would still be possible even with paying users but I think the risk would be greater for them.


What data do you think DDG has on you now, that they could sell? Or is your concern that DDG could cell out on the promise of users, and that users would fail to notice a change in privacy-respecting behavior?


Precisely, yes. As with all internet services we can't really audit what's being collected as simple users, we have to trust them to "do no evil". If tomorrow ddg started logging my browsing history in order to better target ads for instance I probably wouldn't notice a thing.


This depends on the stack. If the cost grows faster than your revenue than it is a problem. If they have a lean stack where the cost grows slower than the revenue by the number of users they are good.


As a governmental spy organization, why wouldn't you just put surveillance on the search engine that is used by people that have "something to hide" (in their mind) and also put a gag order on the operators of that service?


That's why we need a truly decentralized search engine so that there's no one to trust and to have power therefore no way to pressure someone.



How about one that can do multi-term queries at a decent speed while at a large scale while still giving good results?


I assume this should increase with the number of users? no?


Beware the delta between promises and reality.

I started out thinking "theory and reality", but, even in theory, adding a ton of very slow, latent, and unreliable data sources to your query doesn't produce a fast result.


No. I don't believe Yacy will reach exceptable performance as it scales.

I encourage people interested to look at "Peer-to-Peer Information Retrieval: An Overview" in order to get a better understanding on what technical challenges distributed search engines like Yacy have yet to overcome and the paths researchers are taking to overcome them.


I care deeply about privacy and security (in two months I am starting a series of classes at my local library on these topics) but in all honesty the only way we are going to have privacy from government agencies is through a political solution. Using encryption certainly helps but not enough people use it, and I am not hopeful that they will.

On the other hand, there is a lot we can do to protect our privacy from corporations. I do simple things like using duckduckgo, using a private email service that I trust, only using chrome for social media access, and setting Firefox to be as secure as possible and drop all cookies every time I close it.


> I do simple things like using duckduckgo, using a private email service that I trust, only using chrome for social media access, and setting Firefox to be as secure as possible and drop all cookies every time I close it.

I read the comment prior to the username and thought your description of browser use sounded familiar, then checked the name and wasn't surprised that it was your blog where I saw this recommendation.

Do you still use Ghostery with Firefox and Fastmail for email?

I really enjoy your blog btw.


Thanks! I still use Fastmail. I am looking at alternatives to Ghostery.


have been wondering the same about US based VPNs


How many of those 'privacy' VPNs ever conduct proper security analysis of their servers for modern malware, for ex. conducting memory forensics?

Most have servers in data centers in 10+ different countries, so I doubt they are all closely monitored nor capable of keeping their keys closely guarded.

Most VPNs like to advertise the 'military grade encryption' or 'no logs' nonsense, I'd rather see them post results of security audits, ideally conducted by outside firms.


VPN are a scam business run by offshore companies in budget datacenters with the cheapest possible employees.

It probably doesn't matter because 99.999% only want to access Netflix in another country. Out of the remaining 0.001%, most are just people from repressive countries dodging their country's porn filters.


>It probably doesn't matter because 99.999% only want to access Netflix in another country.

If they are giving people the service they want then how is it a scam?


They are not providing the security they promise.


It sounds like you have something against VPN providers...

There are loads of trash VPN providers, but there are a lot of genuine ones that really care about privacy activism and provide an honest service.


I've been wondering the same about ANY VPN - it doesn't that unreasonable that a Government agency would be able to manage servers overseas.


Anyone using Astrill? I would really be interested in an app-armor profile for their app.


Except they aren't dropping cookies on your machine so it'd be harder for them to track users and that's something that can be verified externally.


Browser fingerprinting is unique enough that they can likely track you without sending a single persistent byte to your machine.


Yes, but you can also use DDG without CSS or JS, https://duckduckgo.com/html/


You can still be fingerprinted by HTTP request headers alone. You can test the number of identifying bits your browser generates at EFF's Panopticlick[1]. It's scary.

https://panopticlick.eff.org/index.php?action=log&js=no


They explain their methodology and some defenses in a linked paper (PDF):

https://panopticlick.eff.org/browser-uniqueness.pdf

All in all it's pretty scary though. My browser is unique among 5.3 million or something. And then there's the algorithm they mention that can detect fingerprint changes with 99.1% accuracy, and be used to do things like recreate cookies that you deleted.


That's pretty cool (from a technical point of view, not cool from a privacy point of view). It says my particular configuration of browser plugins is unique among 1,827,392 browsers tested. Taken together with all the other unique things means I'm unique among 5,482,178 browsers tested. Shouldn't there be a way to hide most of that so you would be far less unique?


You could manually set your user-agent string to a more polular one (IE on Windows 7?). There are several browser extensions that allow you to set UA string manually for Chrome and Firefox.

However, an adversary can also fingerprint your OS/patch level based on packet structure[1][2] - which can't be easily changed. This will add more identifying bits.

1.http://nmap.org/book/osdetect-fingerprint-format.html

2.http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles-tutorials/intrusion_d...


Disable javascript, use ublock/umatrix, and browse in incognito mode


Huh. So apparently I'm the only Conkeror user in the world (or at least that Panopticlick has encountered).


Why is it hard to track users when DuckDuckGo has access logs (tuples of date/times, ip addresses and queries) and ISPs have a pair of a date/time and an ip address -> a real identity mappings?


Well, according to tracker detection service Ghostery, an I.P. address is considered Pseudonymous information, unless you live in Europe, apparently.


IP addresses are not people


They've still got nothing to hide. That they have something to hide is in your mind, not in theirs.


shhh! But you're right. AFAIK, that's still well within the governments legal bounds.


I should use DuckDuckGo, but when I need to search I'm too much in some mindset and context I can't allow it to get broken by the poor search results DDG gives me. So my life has come to the point where I'm aware that I give all my search data to someone I know spies on me. 24/7/365.


Just search more specifically, this should resolve 80% or more of the 'poor search results'. Every once in a while, I'll go to Google but that's for maybe 2 searches a month! You'll be surprised at how decent the results for DDG are.


That works when you know what it is you're looking for.

Google still wins when you don't know the word/term/name etc for something and are describing it. The reason for that is mostly that every time someone searches on Google, they help make Google smarter. Effectively every time you search, the results are largely based on what someone searched for historically and what they clicked (or even subsequent searches and clicks).

e.g. "movie about kidnapped daughter" (I'm looking for the 2008 movie Taken, but have "forgotten" the name).

Google: 3rd result. Bing: 8th result. DDG: 7th result.

Why is Google 3rd and DDG/Bing 7th and 8th respectively? They likely have all indexed the Wikipedia and IMDB pages for the movie Taken. However Google likely ranks those links closer to the top because historically that's what users want when they searched for that phase.


Serious question though, why can't DDG do the same thing without compromising privacy? It would seem like it'd be possible to keep a log of things like "A user searched for 'movie about kidnapped daughter' and clicked on 'Taken'. Maybe weight that one higher next time" -- without keeping user details at all.


As an example: One really useful data source that I'm sure Google uses heavily is query reformulations. If a user does a search for Q, and then later does different queries Q' and Q'', and finally clicks on a search result, that's evidence that the result was actually relevant to the original query Q -- the search engine just wasn't smart enough to return it the first time around.

By itself, one data point like that is extremely weak evidence; the later queries might actually have been completely unrelated. But that's a source of error that tends to disappear when averaged across a large number of different users. In the aggregate, the data can be extremely valuable. But doing that kind of analysis requires correlating multiple searches from the same user, and storing the resulting profile for a long enough period of time to do useful aggregation.


Can't DDG use session-only cookies to link Q, Q' and Q"? Or would that be considered a breach of their privacy rules?


You can't count on a browser session to be particularly short-lived. Even if you don't tie query logs directly to a username, the mere act of correlating different queries from a user inherently compromises privacy, as demonstrated by the AOL leak.


I think this kind of issue involves DDG's AI. Google's is far superior in this respect. Heck, G has gotten me to things that I faintly remember but I know, without a shadow of doubt that I'd still be uncertain of 'that thing' I was trying to remember.

This is a search problem. I honestly don't see why DDG can't develop an AI that understands cultural and language contexts. Currently it doesn't but innovating this will take a lot of brain power, something DDG is lacking (when comparing the sheer #s of personnel focused on search).


This sometimes works, but I've found quite a lot of cases where it doesn't. The two most frequent culprits for me:

1) Smaller index. Some stuff just seems not to be in DDG at all. Even after finding a page I'm looking for via !g, I'll go back and try to see whether I could've gotten DDG to return it with some more specific search term (even verbatim phrases from the page) with no luck.

2) Languages other than English. The Google/DDG search quality gap is much, much larger in Greek than in English, for example.


What fringe items are you looking for? Ah, non-english, that sounds like a solid point. I only search english.


I tried a few days of DDG fully aware that DDG can't read my mind. So I did my best giving it context but I gave up in anoyance over how much time I wasted trying to give it the correct context, while a !g just hit spot on.

I should probably have tried more but I guess I'm too pragmatic for my own good.


On the contrary it usually gives me what I'm looking for even if the results are not exactly the same as google's. Sometimes I find that the customized search results and the insistence on prioritizing things I've searched for in the past can interfere with my ability to find what I'm looking for.


As always, you can see the actual ddg traffic numbers on their website

https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html


I wonder why the API queries are decreasing while direct queries are increasing.


Given the many "not as good as Google but good enough" type comments, perhaps people are switching away from it being the default from a search bar, but instead of using it for everything, they use it for what they consider sensitive queries.


>"If you're not collection user information, how are you going to make money? How are you going to become a big brand that people can trust long term?

I know that the interviewer has to ask at least the first part to get the interview going, but it also highlight everything that wrong in the thinking of online ads/marketing.

If you need to collect user information to make money, them perhaps your product isn't that great to begin with (unless you're an ad company like Google, but the we get into the argument who the user is).

Also collection information, so you can grow to become a big brand, I would argue that you've thrown trust out the window a long time ago.


DDG is based in the US, therefore it is entirely possible that they have been ordered to keep logs and track everything the users do on that site with a gag order.

Being based in the US is a dealbreaker for privacy.


I'm not sure I got the grammar right, but - being based where isn't a deal breaker for privacy? Any government might compel a business to do stuff and to keep quiet about it. The fact that the US actually did it kinda suggests that, I dunno, Russia or China are certainly doing it. Note as well that the US or another powerful state can compel a smaller state to do things to businesses based there, and keep quiet about it. So even if you trust some state more than you trust the US when it comes to secretly doing things that you don't like, you'd need to also count on it to be able to say "no" to the US as well as other powerful states... good luck with that.

If you want your searches to not be used for targeted advertising, DDG sounds like a sensible option, actually. If you don't want governments to know what you're searching for, that sounds really hard to strongly guarantee. (I'd think they're logging your communication way before it reaches the server, in particular.)


It is certainly more difficult for US and other powerful countries to enforce its diktat on certain countries (like those in Europe). They are more powerful in a geo-political sense and also have a deep-seated fear of government surveillance.


You're simply trading one governments surveillance for another. The US isn't the only government conducting advanced surveillance.

Being based in the US is a dealbreaker because of US Surveillance.

Being based in the Canada is a dealbreaker because of Canadian/US/UK/Austrailain/New Zealand Surveillance.

Being based in the France is a dealbreaker because of French Surveillance.

Being based in the Germany is a dealbreaker because of German Surveillance.

Being based in the Japan is a dealbreaker because of Japanese Surveillance.

Being based in the Austrailia is a dealbreaker because of Canadian/US/UK/Austrailain/New Zealand Surveillance.

Being based in the Spain is a dealbreaker because of Spanish Surveillance.

The question is again, where exactly is government survailence not a deal breaker? Every country that is capable of it is doing it, and every country that is not capable has agreements with those that do.


US surveillance isn't limited to the US; the NSA spies on everything, its just that it's spying within the US is controversial given that it's legal mission is foreign signals intelligence, and the US has statutory and Constitutional limits on domestic government surveillance which are arguably violated by the NSA's domestic surveillance. NSA engaging in universal and total foreign surveillance is far less controversial in the US, but it would be a mistake to conflate the lack of controversy with a lack of NSA activity.


Also consider corporate 'surveillance'. Google tracks more than the surveillance state asks from them. Same with Facebook. And that's just so our ads can be targeted. But folks flock to those platforms. Because they can do business there. People are not as picky as we'd like to think.


Especially if you're not from the US. No laws in the US (I'm aware of) protects the privacy of "foreigners". Our data is basically up for grabs.


And that's why it makes no sense to use DDG if you are paranoiac. If you use DDG because you think promoting websites that "Seems" to put privacy in front, then that's a good thing. But if you are really paranoiac, then just use proxy/VPN with google.


Or use DuckDuckGo over Tor, they have a .onion address[0] and don't show captchas to Tor users like Google does.

    [0] http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion


and apparently uses amazon's cloud http://a.1339.cf/xaikik.png


The only thing stopping me from using DDG is the inability to limit search results by date. I want search results from a week ago, a month ago, a year ago.

I know they have sort by date, but this just sorts by date without taking into account how relevant the result is.


Yeah, I hate that DDG is missing that feature. I always use Google in those cases...


IMHO 600% is meaningless number.

What's the estimate market share of DuckDuckGo today, that's the real question.

Do they dominate a niche? I think they have significant market share among HackerNews users.


On the Internetlivestats website, they are talking of 3.5 billions searches per day for Google(1). On the duckduckgo website, they are saying they serve 7 millions queries per day(2). So DuckDuckGo does 0.2% of the amount of Google. Please correct me is my logic is flawed.

(1)http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/

(2)https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html


Yeah. If they went from 1 to 6 users it wouldn't be impressive at all, so "600%" is meaningless by itself.


I think it's pretty meaningful for the exact reasons you state.

If they had gone up millions then they would have used real numbers. Therefore the actual numbers are still pretty low.


Here are the actual numbers:

https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html


You're wrong. It went up by 5.5 million.


This might be a random point, but I'm curious if DDG will have to change their branding to be accepted beyond the tech space into mainstream searching.

I feel like "duck duck go" is too long for the avg american to grasp or use in an ongoing convo when compared to "google", "bing" or "yahoo."

I can't see people saying "just duck duck go it." Maybe something like DDG or "duckduck"instead?

Maybe that's just me...


Well, there is http://ddg.gg, which is "four characters shorter than google.com!" [1] The transitive verb "to google" has been generalized to searching the web, just as "to photoshop" being diluted to digitally editing a photo.

[1]: https://duck.co/help/company/short-domain


I get that - I think my bigger point was that they need a verb to reference "duck it" "duckduck it" or "ddg it"


Does DuckDuckGo still use Yahoo BOSS search API? (based on Bing)

$1.80 / 1000 queries:

https://developer.yahoo.com/boss/search/#pricing


yandex


Yandex and BOSS are just two of many sources: https://duck.co/help/results/sources


Beside PR talk, technically it's this way:

Bing through Yahoo BOSS API (which isn't free anymore) is the main source (and Yandex is used instead of Bing for certain countries in Europe&Asia). All other sources are smaller sources that augment the main search results. DDG is at the moment a meta search engine.

There was a recent search engine startup with its own large scale crawler, Blekko. Though, recently IBM bought it for their Watson AI, as a knowledge base.


From what I understand, DDG also has its own crawler, but yes, it's mostly a meta search engine at the moment.


Where is DDG located?

I can't watch the video, about which the text reads "The news anchor just can’t resist a little jab about DuckDuckGo’s location choice".


A google search turns up Paoli, Pennsylvania =)

https://duck.co/help/company/hiring


One feature that would allow me to eventually move to DDG would be a "toggle" of sorts within my browser that would allow me to switch to DDG results (from Google).

Deciding before my query to use DDG is a hard habit/practice to employ. However, when shown results from Google, if DDG results were just a click away (maybe already rendered in another "tab") it would make A/B testing easier and seemless - which would be essential to eventually moving away and changing my "default" search engine.

Just my $0.02


it would make A/B testing easier and seemless

It sure would, but you'd also lose quite some time doing A/B testing. I know because I tried, and eventually decided it's not worth spending any time on. So I just put DDG as default, and now - when the results aren't satisfactory - google is just one !g away. That is imo a much better and easier way of getting to know DDG.


A/B testing is just a bridge or crutch to help convince me I'm not "missing something" by ditching Google. How does !g work? I use Firefox+auto complete for most queries. Changing the search engine takes an additional step that doesn't fit into my learned workflow.


I see why you want A/B testing but look at it this way: if you find the answer to your question on the first results page you didn't miss anything. Hence: no explicit A/B needed :] If you do not find the result than !g might be a way out. Not sure how it works exactly, you just prepend or append it to the search. As other comments point out: in FF I usually do Ctrl-K (focus search), End (to unselect text), type !g, Enter


What is HN's opinion on the quality of the search results?


I try DDG every once in a while for a couple of weeks since I'd like to switch. Yet even today, the results just aren't good enough. Particularly when debugging and searching development related error message I had to use the "!g" bang almost constantly.

For easy queries, DDG is great, but so is Google. When we reach just mildly confusing queries, the differences are very noticeable. One example from the top of my head: Searching for "devise", a popular ruby gem, yields several unrelated results before the actual Gem on DDG, while Google has the Github page as first result. Due to the popularity of devise I wouldn't rate this as a difficult query, yet problems already emerge on DDG. Multiply that by the number of queries you input daily and it becomes annoying.


I have noticed the same, and find myself using the !g feature in DDG a lot for searches... I suspect this could be related to Google knowing that you tend to search for code (i.e. Ruby) a lot, thus bumping related results to the top. Since DDG avoids storing context for users (from what I gather), I wonder if they'll ever be able to deliver the same quality of results as Google do.


Maybe he could add a 'context' flag on the search. Instead of the engine trying to discern what you are looking for from your history, maybe there could be a way you could tell it. #programming, #cooking, etc. Not sure what the UI should be.


Why not just expand the original query? A search for "devise ruby" works pretty well (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=devise+ruby).

I've long given up searching for trendily-named JavaScript libraries without adding "js" to the search term.


There are some stupidly named plugins & libraries out there, not to mention films and music too. Sometimes you need context. One of my favorite bands is called Perfume, results are terrible unless I provide context or type their name in kanji. I say "one of" but there aren't any others <3


nocchhiiii


I'm thinking more along the lines of collecting the info that google does, but not attaching it to people. Turn it into some sort of group profile that I can elect to be a part of for a particular search- so if I search 'mixers' as one group I get mozilla dev network results, and as a different group I get kitchen equipment, and as a still different group I get local singles' meetups. The difference in the last group is that I wouldn't also get numbers for local divorce lawyers showing up as ads.

(Edit- clarification re: ads)


Or if you think it might be on github, https://duckduckgo.com/?q=devise+github


Or better yet: "!github devise".

Or, even better: "!rubygems devise".


I would guess this is ironically the result of google tracking you and knowing you want the gem. Someone who does not search for code stuff wont get the gem at all I expect.

IIRC, the incognito/private mode doesn't matter here either, at least for chrome's omnibox


Use startpage.com, that uses Google results and doesn't track you. github repo is the first hit for "devise."


Startpage is a mystery to me. Why would Google simply provide a competitor with search results? If they're bought, and that can't be cheap, where does the money come from?


Interestingly, if I search for that on DDG, I get a github.com/plataformatec/devise as third result. Without more context, I don't think that's particularly bad. Adding "ruby" to the query bumps that link to the top.


> Searching for "devise", a popular ruby gem, yields several unrelated results before the actual Gem on DDG, while Google has the Github page as first result.

That's probably because of the lack of tracking. "Devise" has meanings outside of the Ruby world that are - arguably - more significant than the name of some authentication/session library. Google knows this, but - since it's able to profile you and stick you in the "Ruby programmer" pigeonhole - it knows to promote Ruby gem stuff. DDG has no such information, so it focuses on dictionary definitions first, since those are more commonly-useful than the Ruby gem.


Maybe because google have spent years compiling data about me, but I had to switch to google search yesterday to get a result that wasn't showing on DDG.

I have ddg as my start page on my main computer at home, I was looking for a military paint code so typed "military paint code A6" and all I got was Audi A6 sites (non military and I wan't looking for anything to do with Audi). Scoot over to google and my expected results where at the top.

I continue to use dgg because they won't improve otherwise. Google need the competition, frankly.


Heh, I wanted to see how that search looked on Google without any hints in my bubble - my mistake, they show your comment at the top :) On another note I wonder if their indexer is actually that fast on a relatively niche site like this or whether they also index pages as I visit for use in search.


> Maybe because google have spent years compiling data about me, but I had to switch to google search yesterday to get a result that wasn't showing on DDG.

Maybe ? Maybe ?!

Come on, that's the whole point of duckduckgo.

http://dontbubble.us/ https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2673898


Well, it was a niche search for sure. The A6 is a British military internal code (I haven't yet found out what it is, but strongly suspect it to be anti-reflective drab green because the vehicle was that colour when I bought it). It's just that the other search words had no connection to Audi, I haven't seen Audi used by any military (Mercedes, Land Rover, Jeep, Ford etc yes).

The result seemed based off of only one of the search terms, not a grouping.


I tried the query. Second link was to your post. I also got some audi links and a Ford link about vehicle colors.


I tried this query on DDG and got Audi results as well for top 4.


For things in English, I would say it's acceptable but relevance is still below google and I find myself switching to google for about 10% of my searches, being unhappy with what DDG got me.

For things not in English, it's quite bad.


I would say the same, for English it works quite well (the quality is maybe a bit below Google but not much). But for other languages, it just does not work at all.


I use DDG as my primary search engine, but I almost never perform a search without using a bang pattern.

Is there absolutely no chance that even 90's era Lycos could ruin this search? Use the blank ! and skip the list.

Do I need a brief overview before I do more refined research? Use !wiki

Do I have a bug in my code? Use !so

Did Stack Overflow have nothing about my bug? Use !scholar

For any other search, I just wind up putting in !g and letting Google handle it because, if I haven't found it by this point, the regular DDG search probably isn't going to help.


On average worse than Google but not without its pleasures. Much worse on "long tail" searches and non-English terms. I went back to Google.

To be fair what really made me move away was that their page load times were much slower. Now that I live in a country that is closer to DDG's servers I may give them another go.


My experience is similar. A small notch worse than Google, but enough that I didn't stick on it. It's a good example of how we just can't go back, for almost any reason.

I like the idea of less tracking and less personalization. But it turns out I'm not willing to sacrifice almost anything for it.

The internet is so unkind to close seconds.


I use it as my primary search engine and I'm mostly satisfied with it, but there are still times (once a day maybe) when I have to use Google (through Startpage).


I have been trying it as default se for a while and had to turn back to google recently.

It seems to be decent at first but after a while, I get the feeling that I'm not finding good matches that comes with google and loosing precious time on searches instead of studying the resulting pages.


A major annoyance are the endless clones of SO sites polluting my searches.


I switched to using DDG as a default a long time ago and have experienced improved results over the last few years. I would say that ~97.5% of my searches now go over DDG, if the search fail I add "!g" to the query to see if Google can do better. About 40% of my searches are research related, 40% software development related, and 20% "others". Searches that tend to fail are usually for local news in my country of origin or very exotic configuration/library errors. For the former, Google still does better than DDG, for the latter, it is about 50/50 if Google will fail to deliver as well.


I try to use DDG every once in a while, because I really would like to use them. But after a while, I almost always switch back and vow to try them again in a few months.

If you compare a query like "static webserver", you'll see why Google's results are much more diverse, than DDG's:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=static+webserver

https://www.google.com/search?q=static+webserver


Both results seem of extremely poor quality to me.


What are you getting on Google?


Aligned with others here. English is okish, Estonian (my native) is bad. Not unusably bad, but bad. But !g is always there, so im fully switched and never going back.


Pretty okay for most stuff that has to do with work, never mind that often you can "bang" to where you really want to go anyway (github, wikipedia).

I often bang to google for longer queries or almost anything that's local to Germany.


I never understood the appeal of !bang - browsers have had that built-in for a long time. You just right click on the Github search field, choose "Add a Keyword for this Search" and then type some keyword like "gh".

Then just type "gh <query>" on your location bar and it'll search directly in that site.


Bangs can be used anywhere in the string. I use them at the end so if I want to try another source I can just update "searchingthis !mq" with "searchingthis !gm". No need to go to the front of the query and update the keyword there.

Also, you don't have to configure anything. DDG bangs are intuitive. I find myself searching sites I wouldn't have otherwise.


Even though I sometimes find more relevant results on ddg than google, I wouldn't use it without its !


Whilst the search results are generally quite good, Google is often far better for highly specific or technical queries. Google also shows genuine intelligence and understanding at times whereas I find that DuckDuckGo does not.

One big problem I find with DuckDuckGo is the search suggestions. I found that with DDG they are very poor and that I used them with Google far more often than I thought.

That said - give DDG a go! I think that for many people, the results are more than good enough. They have improved dramatically over the past few years. Even if you're not ready to use them full-time, I'd recommend trying them out on your phone first, perhaps.


Same here; I feel like DDG works for 95% of my searches, but most of the ones it fails to find relevant pages on are error messages or stack traces.


I switched years ago, initially quality for non-US-centric results was lackluster, but it is excellent now. Considering that I'm stubbornly trying to use Tor wherever possible, the fact that it isn't blocked or hampered (like Google does with its crappy twisty little maze of captchas sometimes), is an additional advantage. I honestly cannot remember when I last felt I had to use "!g" and was proven right by better results. Perhaps Google Image Search is still worthwhile.


I use it as a default search engine and I'm very satisfied. The keyboard shortcuts are very handy [0]. I rarely find myself needing a different search engine. Only the images search is not really useful I think (also UI wise).

[0] https://duckduckgo.com/?q=duckduckgo+shortcuts&t=canonical&i...


I'd say about 75% of the time it gives me what I'm looking for. The other 25% I end up using !ge or typically !so since what I'm looking for is webdev related and Stack Overflow usually has what I need. The !bangs more than make up for any lower quality in search results, imo


I use DDG as an addition to Google, not as a replacement.

When I want to look up something factual I know nothing about, DDG is the right searchengine. I finde that DDG is best at giving short, concise results.

When I'm searching for something within the (very) broad "entertainment" category, I go with Google.


They're getting better, or I'm getting use to using DDG and adjust my searches accordingly.

Without having much proof I would claim that DuckDuckGo is get better at about the same rate I feel Google as been declining in quality.


A styling UX complaint I have is the titles of the search results are the same colour as the excerpts so it's not easy to quickly scan the results. Google puts them in blue to differentiate all that text.


Titles and excerpts are actually different colors. The titles are #333 (Gray20) and the excerpts below are the lighter #666 (Gray40).


Pretty mixed. A search for my project (MikeOS) brings up a highlighted Wikipedia page at the top, even though that page was deleted over a year ago...


Works great for every day stuff.

If I'm searching something code-specific sometimes I might need to defer to searching elsewhere however.

Overall I would highly recommend DDG.


DDG's search results have substantially improved since a few months ago. I now use it as my primary search engine.


They do log the queries, as google does. You can only trust a search engine when they do stop logging.

Any NSL can order them to hand over the logs in certain regimes (bulk or per IP? We know what happened), but they cannot force them to write logs in the first hand. Without logging it will also be ~10% faster.


They keep global stats, but they don't track you personally. See: https://duckduckgo.com/privacy


DDG does not log queries in the same way Google does, they are far more generalized, even so, even if a company say they don't log use, or limit logging, it still does not mean they can be completely trusted. If you are doing something electronically, more than likely, you can be tracked.


> If you are doing something electronically, more than likely, you can be tracked.

That doesn't really encapsulate the range, sure if I'm logging into facebook from my home connection off a stock linux desktop then that's way more trackable than Tails off a memory stick in a laptop with no hard drive using the wifi of the McDonalds across the street from Starbucks.

The issue is that the bar for anonymity online gets pushed higher and higher.


I like having my default search being anonymous DDG. 99% of my searches I never even bother with getting another engine's results.

For Google results, in the very rare case that I need to see what they have, I use "searchthis !sp" to get anonymous Google results from Startpage. I used SP fulltime previously but they've had reliability issues and an odd issue with the back button.

Most !bangs that I use are for !w, !a and !gm. Firefox's dedicated search bar helps a lot with editing a long search string with another bang. Doubtful I'll be moving off DDG due to that feature.


DDG is my default on some browsers and machines, but it still lacks a lot in relevant results. I find myself using startpage.com or even Google (the latter for better image searches) very often. The lack of a date based search is a huge disadvantage since I use that very often in other engines.

Lately, DDG has also been quite slow for me and doesn't load at all for several seconds. Overall, I love the privacy part, but it's not as useful as a search engine ought to be for my usage. So I'm unable to quit the other alternatives, even though I badly want to.


I've used DuckDuckGo a few times wanting to make the switch, but I just end up going right back to Google. It's just so ingrained in me at this point. I really like the idea of DuckDuckGo and should just force myself to switch.

Something this got me thinking though; what about other less popular search engines such as Lycos, do they ALL track usage? Or are there other search engines that are anonymized in a similar fashion to DuckDuckGo?


I love what DDG represents and I try it first just to show my support. But, if I can't find what I'm looking for I activate VPN, open an incognito window and search with Google. Civilian OPSEC is painful. But I refuse to give up my freedom. I wish there was an application/URL level VPN option. That would solve a lot of problems.


This is just a me too comment, but one of my guys told me two days ago that duckduckgo is good enough. So I switched to it and so far I'm liking the results.

And is it just me or is it actually faster when you click on one of the results? Whenever I do that with google it seems like there is a delay while google does some analytics or something.


interesting, on mobile google is faster than ddg for me


When the NSA Shows Up At Your Internet Company

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/07/21/1853212/when-the-nsa-...


They'll break 10M daily direct query threshold on June 22, according to Holt-Winters.

http://axibase.com/chartlab/e8635882/5/


Nice... June 22 was in fact the day when duckduckgo.com broke 10M daily direct query count, as predicted by non-parametric, fully-automated forecasting. Congrats team duckduckgo!


It has gotten faster. I somehow like DDG but finally got stuck with www.startpage.com


I use DDG, and it works very well most of the time, but for some obscure and very targeted searches Google still beats it by a big margin (especially since Google has time filtering and etc.). So in such cases I just add a !g :)


Does anyone happen to know how to make it so that the preview of a DDG search result is not a link to the result? I often want to copy and paste something from the preview, but having it as a link makes that difficult.


I choose Google because cntrl+t g o <enter> flows better than cntrl+t d u <enter>.

Every time I've tried to switch to DuckDuckGo, this has been the primary stumbling point.


What browser are you using that doesn't have a search box?


Is it possible to append all regular ddg searches with !g? I'd like to use Google for my searches but still be able to use the ddg bangs.


The privacy aspects are not that important to me, I just want to get out of Google's increasingly irrelevant search results. I tried switching to DDG a couple years ago and it was a pretty meh experience, so I went back to Google.

But, I tried again just a couple months ago (I went whole hog and changed the search engine in chrome to ddg) and have been very impressed with it. It's been continuously worked on enough that it now serves about 90-95% of my daily search needs without any fuss and I actually prefer the way it presents images, semantic search and videos in search results over google's. It does a much better job at returning results for what I'm actually searching for and that's awesome.

For example in Google, if I search for "Mad Max" I get showtimes for "Mad Max: Fury Road" at the top and and imdb-like bit of information for "Mad Max: Fury Road" on the right (neither of which I searched for) and then a list of search results which these days are increasingly just links to Wikipedia's take on whatever I'm searching for (this time for "Mad Max" and "Mad Max (franchise)") followed by news on "Fury Road" the "Fury Road" video game, IMDB links to "Mad Max (1979)" and "Mad Max:Fury Road (2015)", etc. then trailers on youtube for both movies and links to the movie sites etc.

It's okay, I suppose, but Google first assumes I'm looking for "Mad Max:Fury Road" and fills the results for that, then I get links to WP and IMDB on the same topic (I could have just gone to those), except for WP it's not for Fury Road. And why no love for Thunderdome?

Guess what happens when I search ddg? I get a list of possible meanings, the first of which is "Mad Max" not Fury Road (that's #2), then a list of other possible meaning (which include Fury Road, the videogame, the Franchise, etc.). This is awesome, it's not assuming which meaning I want, and thereby getting it wrong like Google and the list of possible meanings is better ordered. Then the search results are better too, of course the prerequisite IMDB and WP links are there, but the top 4 results are for "Mad Max" (or the franchise) and not for "Fury Road"...I'm actually getting results for what I searched for, not for what it thinks I searched for. The mix of results after that is also "better" to my eyes, it includes a large fan site, which Google doesn't ever seem to get around to, Amazon, ebay, games, non-WP fan wikis, reviews, and so on.

Google seems intent on shoving the latest thing that the film studio marketing departments are currently pushing, while DDG provide links to information on what I actually searched for.

I've found this to be true for most of my searches. DDG is actually finding what I want instead of what Google wants.

About the only times I'm finding I'm using Google any more is in two cases:

* I've exhausted DDG's results and want to see if Google's bigger index has something else.

* Google's more sophisticated time constraints on searches. DDG just lets me order results, but Google let's me slice out results between time ranges, which I often find more useful for research purposes.

Bonus: Privacy, again not my main interest, but it's nice that it's there. !Bang syntax. I don't use many of them, but I find them useful (it's also how I execute google searches, just put a !g before my search in ddg).

Wishes: time-slice for search, someway to make it my default in mobile chrome on my android devices


As a Minnesotan, I'm not going to use this service until is named a more suitable Duck Duck Grey Duck.


I wish the headline was s/600%/from 1.5M to 7M in 2 years/

No less impressive, and so much more informative!


Way to go Gabriel! A unicorn who is a really nice, genuine guy who wants to help start-ups.


Once I learned about the !bangs, I switched immediately. Usually the results are "good enough", and when not, I try a !bang.


Right click the search bar on Youtube in Chrome/Firefox and "add as search" or "add as keyword"

Now you can search Youtube using your browser as a (prefixed) bang.


DDG bangs can be used anywhere in the string. I use them at the end so if I want to try another source I can just update "searchingthis !mq" with "searchingthis !gm". No need to go to the front of the query and update the keyword there.

Also, you don't have to configure anything. DDG bangs are intuitive. I find myself searching sites I wouldn't have otherwise.


As far as intuitive goes - see my other comment:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9733726

If I want to update the beginning of a string I ctrl+l -> home -> ctrl+shift+right arrow.

If it is at the end of the string I ctrl+l -> ctrl+shift+left arrow.

I don't mind having to press the home key on occasion that I'd try a different source (which is almost never).


You'd have to change the source if you were really searching hard though.

That whole process sounds clunkier than just using DDG and a browser with a dedicated search bar. I don't think I'll be switching to your method, but it sounds like something I could see some people doing prior to DDG's existence.


Ctrl+L highlights the navigation area (which doubles as a search bar in any current browser so long as a URL isn't inputted)

So the difference between the nav bar and a dedicated search bar is almost nil. They serve the same functionality, but one allows you to search domains without having to prefix a keyword.

It might sound clunky because I primarily use keyboard shortcuts instead of reaching over to my mouse.


If you choose DuckDuckGo as your search engine in Chrome/Firefox, you don't even have to do that!


But then you would have to choose DDG as your search engine. Same number of steps.


People should not have to change their behaviours like this in order to avoid the intrusion of their own government.


what's hn's opinion on this screenshot from 4chan that suggests to not use DDG? http://a.1339.cf/xaikik.png

been using DDG since almost the beginning so i'm kind of conflicted...


So are they up to like 600 or 1200 users now?


The NSA news broke a long time ago and 600% over that period doesn't sound like outlandish growth for a startup. Or maybe it is, I don't know. It would be good to see this figure over time on a chart, then we could see if there is any change in growth rate.


Watch the video - they show the chart.

And yes, it is a noticeable difference in growth rate.


My bad, I skipped through and missed the chart.

(It's at 1:05)


The rest of the world doesn't care about NSA surveillance so 600% doesn't really mean anything and is meaningless. Hell, a lot of people don't even know what Bing is!


If anything people outside of the US care more about the NSA revelations. Because it's an foreign government snooping in shit that they have 0 business to snoop in.


Excuse me, I live in England and I use DuckDuckGo - Surveillance and tracking is just as prevalent over here as it is in the US, ever heard of GCHQ?


Likely even more so. The U.S. is at least making symbolic (if not substantial) changes to laws like letting provisions of the PATRIOT ACT expire, while the UK is secretly making domestic spying legal through secret laws.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-05/18/gchq-hacking-...



I also am British and use DDG, but the comment was about the vast majority of web users around the world, who still type google into google to get to google.com


You are correct, the vast majority of web users do not care about surveillance.

But the early adopters do, and these are the high technologists, the users of HackerNews, and it appears that these are the ones driving the change. The other replies to your comment sadly seem to equate the "rest of the world" as non US early adopters / users on HN.

This may or may not lead to the late adopters coming along to DDG in a few years. If they come, it will not be because of privacy matters, or the bang syntax but because a) it would be better and/or b) everyone else is doing it.


The rest of the world is what NSA surveillance is about, I believe. Spying on Americans is just collateral damage.


We absolutely care; DDG user from Liverpool here. Not just because of NSA surveillance but because of privacy concerns in general, and especially concerns regarding Google.


Also from Liverpool and agreed on all points.


Germany is still up in arms about it - Snowden is the cause of the biggest strain in US-German relationships since I don't know when. (1945?)




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